Ever heard of Bhootnath Market? If not then please read on. 😌
This bright and bustling Bhootnath Market is in the heart of the city of Nawabs. It’s one of the most famous and oldest markets in Indira Nagar, Lucknow yet maintains a low profile among tourists. People flock from all corners of the city for their various needs. It has some most vibrant shops for apparel, crockery, groceries and other utility items. Additionally, it’s known for some interesting food joints offering speciality cuisines and bakeries; popular hangout spots among youngsters. It is the most convenient and happening market in Lucknow after Hazratganj. It also has a famous Bhootnath Temple, centrally located, mainly dedicated to Lord Hanuman. It is one of the ancient temples in Lucknow and thus the market derives its name. You’ll find beautiful flower shops in a row opposite the temple which have not only flowers for temple offering but the most exquisite bouquets.
To sum up, I walked around the lanes of this market today after many years. These lanes brought back some finest childhood memories. The rains added a hint of nostalgia and I couldn’t stop soaking myself in it and reminiscing the bygone days.
The place is easily accessible by metro, local transport or by personal vehicle if you are in Lucknow. It’s quite convenient to explore this market as it’s neither vast nor crowded like Chowk and Aminabad. If you want to indulge in some mindful shopping and eating, Bhootnath is the place to be.
Who could have imagined such a beautiful and inviting cafe on the busiest roads of Lucknow, with just a small signboard, a sufficient parking space and making absolutely no noise about it?
Located on the main Faizabad Road in Indira Nagar, Lucknow @caferepertwahr is a casual dining cafe in a dreamy setup. It’s hardly at a distance of 1.5 km from the famous Bhootnath market. The place offers a lovely ambience, cuisines ranging from North Indian, Chinese, Continental, Italian and Seafood and has a huge collection of books you can spend your time reading over a cup of coffee. The food and services are good. It’s a charming place with lots of refreshing greenery, contemporary and sustainable interiors and liveliness.
My never-ending love for pretty cafes always urge me to find one wherever I go. Sharing this as part of #AppyTalesInLucknow series, since a lot of queries poured in ever since I visited this place on Friday.
I was elated to find the queries coming to me from the people residing in Lucknow itself. So guys do check it out and make the most of it. Although the cafe takes full safety measures like sanitisation, temperature check, social distancing yet do not forget to play your part responsibly. Wear a mask, keep sanitizing and maintain social distancing in public places. It’s high time, please be responsible! 🌸
This blog was much awaited! Among several other reasons for its great popularity and charm, Lucknow is also known for its mouthwatering food. From delectable kebabs to tangy chaats, from flavoursome kachoris to inviting kulfis and makhhan malai, Lucknow has endless tastes to offer. So, here are some of the best and my favourite street food destinations in Lucknow. You can save this post for future so that you do not miss to try any of these, next time you are here.
Tunday Kababi – Come to Lucknow and you are not asked to bring back some kebabs with you; not happening! The legendry Tunday kebabs here are popular across India leave alone Uttar Pradesh. They are exceptionally tasteful and melt-in-your mouth. They have a variety of kebabs—the Shami Kebabs, Boti Kebabs, Kakori Kebabs, Gelawati Kebabs, Seekh Kebabs. A word of caution is to ask beforehand what kebabs are you are going to have as they have varieties in Beef (Bade ka Kabab) and Mutton (Chote ka Kabab), Ask anyone, and you would easily reach the destination. Now they have various franchisees but the oldest one remains in Chowk.
Royal Café – This is my personal favourite. Known for its rich Basket Chaat and other variety of lip-smacking tangy chaats. You name it and they have it. Dahi Bhalla, Papdi Chaat, Pani Puri, Bhelpuri, Samosa Chaat they have it all to satiate your chaat cravings. What also makes it unique is Hardayal Maurya ji, the senior most chef here who personally takes care of his guests and makes customized chaats for them and garnishes with his interesting conversation along with other ingredients. This shop is the heart of famous Hazratganj market.
Shukla Chaat House – This is the oldest and one of the most popular chaat shops in Hazratganj. Over 50 years old shop, this attracts people who want to try authentic streetfood flavour of chaats. Prices are extremely reasonable starting from Rs 45/- per plate. This shop is old-fashioned made of wood but you would savour the taste for long. A word of caution here is not to get confused with other Sharma Chaats in and around the main shop. and painted in blue as shown in the clip.
Bajpayee Kachori Bhandar – This vegetarian eatery is again one of the oldest and the most popular one in Lucknow known for it’s famous Kachoris served with chole (gram), pickle and onion. The shop witness long queues early morning. Right opposite Ram Asrey (A famous sweet shop) in Hazratganj, this petite shop is a prime spot for food lovers and bloggers/ vloggers as well.
Sharma Tea Corner – Lucknow aayein aur chai pe charcha na ho aisa to ho hi nahi sakta. 😊 This tea corner is the main fascination of Lucknowites. The famous Bun Maska, Gol Samosa and Kulhad Chai is the classic combination the shop offers at prices as reasonable as Rs 15 per Samosa and Rs 30 per Kulhad Tea. The shop is again more than 40 years old. You will find people of all age groups gathering and discussing matters on various subjects here, anytime of the day.
Dastarkhwan – Known for its Mughlai cuisines, Dastarkhwan is a mecca for non-vegetarians. It has three branches. However, the main one is in Hazratganj where you can visit with your friends and family and sufficiently enjoy the authentic Mughlai taste within Rs 500.
Raheem ki Nihari – This shop exists for over a century and is another famous shop for non-vegetarian lovers who can dive into the aromatic and flavoursome motton and chiken curries with Raheem’s famous Nihari Kulcha. A half plate of Nihari costs just Rs 50. Located in a narrow old lane of Chowk, the place witnesses extreme crowd during Ramzan.
Sardar Ji Ke Mashhoor Cholle Bhature – The famous Cholle Bhature of Sardar ji in Lalbagh, brings the authentic taste of Punjab and are highly in demand. They also serve Aloo, Paneer Kulcha and Sooji Halwa made in Pure Ghee. Pure vegetarian shop is a delight to majority of Lucknowites.
Prakash Kulfi – A meal is incomplete without a good dessert and the famed Prakash kulfi falooda is unbeatable be it summers or winters. This is a must try whenever you visit Chowk. The delicious Kulfis come in different flavours loaded with dry fruits and flavours that make it rich and creamy.
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On the brink of the mountain, ahead of the famous Mall Road in Mussoorie, lie an exceptionally beauteous and magical small hill station, Landour
Landour by now might be known to many. It was my first visit and I was spellbound to see the beauty of this quaint town in the cantonment area adjacent to Mussoorie in Uttarakhand. In a short trip of four days to Mussoorie, I visited Landour twice. Rather trekked to Landour from the bright and colourful Doma’s Inn. What looked like a walkable distance of just 3 km left me panting for almost 15-20 minutes, when I reached the famous Char Dukan in Landour. Hold on, if you are not aware of these names. In this blog, I’ll take you one by one to all the significant places In Landour.
Mussoorie and Landour, the twin towns, are popular hill stations from the times of the British era. Collectively these two were called “Queen of Hills”, however, the former gained more popularity among tourists and later remained calm and quiet nestled silently among the hilltop. Landour is around 984 ft above Mussoorie, located in the Western Himalaya, in the Mussoorie Range and is partly Tibet-facing. Known for its colonial architecture and picturesque sights, Landour for me is a dreamy and magical destination having abundant peace and lush views. You can bucket list this place if you love mountains and enjoy offbeat places, far from the hustle and bustle of commercial and touristy destinations. You are sure to fall in love with this place. No wonder, it’s a home to many creative minds like the authors Ruskin Bond, Allan Sealy and film personalities Tom Alter, Vishal Bharadwaj to name a few.
This was my second visit to Mussoorie after a gap of almost a decade. My first visit to Mussoorie was 2 days and 1 night stay with colleagues over a weekend as an escape from the monotonous work. Ever since I never thought of visiting Mussoorie as I always felt it is overly crowded and commercialized. Of course, all beautiful tourist destinations deserve attention. I am however more of an offbeat traveller who loves untouched quaint places. So, this time, while I stayed in Mussoorie, I gave a piece of my heart to this beautiful town, Landour.
Of the four days I stayed in Mussoorie, my good two days were spent in Landour. And, next time onwards I am only going to stay in Landour. A word of caution: In this blog, I am going to share every bit of my experience to make you fall in love with this place.
Travelling from Delhi to Landour
Approximately 290 km from Delhi, Landour is well-connected by rails and roads and can be reached by train, bus or private car. If you are travelling by public transport, you will have to hire another taxi from Dehradun. A private taxi would cost you around INR 1500. Shared Taxis are also available. You also have an option of hiring a bike on rent in Mussoorie, which costs you anywhere between INR 800-1500 for nine hours depending on your preference of bike.
I travelled from Delhi to Mussoorie via Dehradun by bus. Booked my onward UPSRTC bus ticket through Red Bus App and return through UTC (Uttarakhand Transport Corporation). On each side, the ticket cost me approx. INR 700.
If you wish to travel by air, the nearest airport to Landour is Jolly Grant Airport, Dehradun.
Into the Calm in Landour
I become a happy kid when I find places that have got plenty of natural beauty, silence the heart desires and air as light as feather. Little did I know Landour is such a majestic escapade. Almost 5-6 km of steep hike or drive from the Mall Road in Mussoorie, Landour offers an exquisite charm. It’s almost an hour walk but a tough one. You can also hire a cab from Mall Road and they charge you INR 200-300.
Carpeted by all sorts of forests and plantation like the deodars, cedars, Himalayan oak, Pine, Firs, Maples and alike, Landour offers captivating views of the Garhwal Himalaya. This silent abode rests right in the lap of nature and gives an attractive view of Mussoorie and Doon valley. You can easily drive through the top of Landour and park your car at the parking lot in Chaar Dukan. Hardly at a distance of 900 meters you have the Lal Tibba and Landour Bakehouse. However, the real thrill of this place is in exploring by foot. I would only recommend this if you are a habitual walker and trekker. These views come at a steep hike and you must be fit enough to walk and explore around else you still have the option of driving through or hiring a taxi. I visited this place in April and wonder how exotic the place would be around winters, with those misty deodars and pearl-like dews resting on the needle-like leaves of the pine trees; must be a miracle to witness.
What to Explore in Landour?
Other than the scenic beauty which is plentiful, there are some well-known places, you can spot and would not be disappointed. Here’s a list of places from my two-day visit to Landour:
Ivy Cottage—Mr. Bond’s Favourite Spot: No, not James Bond, our very own and favourite author whom we all have grown-up reading and some of us like me still do, Ruskin Bond. He is an Indian author of British origin. He wrote many stories here and the place gives the perfect essence of the description in his books—the deodars, the window. A perfect place for an author to reside. He is one of the oldest residents of Landour. You can imagine how exceptionally peaceful this town must be back then. His choice to spend his life in a place like this is a perfect example of his love and passion for writing.
Chaar Dukan: You read this name before at the beginning of this blog. This place is considered to be the coolest hangout place in the whole of twin towns; Mussoorie and Landour. These are the four oldest shops adjacent to each other known for their Nutella Pancakes, Cinnamon Waffles and Banana Shakes. The shops here have books by Ruskin Bond, who’s a frequent visitor to this place. I had read so much about this place that I wanted to visit and have a picture here. Although the trekking up to this place was killing my excitement on few occasions it was worth all the effort. You would always find these shops full of tourists and locals who wish to hang out. There are now six shops, however, the first shop i.e., Anil’s Café is the oldest and most in-demand.
Sisters Bazaar: An area close to Chaar Dukan has some known shops and cafes like:
Landour Bakehouse—a bakery cum café that gives the essence of colonial times and carries old charm, blends with the conspicuous theme of the town. To maintain the 1980s appeal, they have kept away from Wi-Fi.
Anil Prakash Store—I am extremely fond of fresh fruit jams and syrups straight from the hills and never miss a chance to grab some whenever I visit mountains. This time I had to visit Prakash Store, known for its delicious jams and jellies, right next to Landour Bakehouse. This is again one of the oldest shops in and around Landour, established in 1928. Apart from jams and jellies, they have a variety of stuff like mint dips, peanut butter, etc. and they prepare it from fresh locally grown produce. Also, they let you taste the variety of stuff they have to make your selection mindful and easy.
Prakash Handicraft Shop—If you are fond of everything local then you must visit this shop for Garhwali handicrafts and other locally made artefacts.
St. Paul’s Church: Right next to Chaar Dukan, aesthetically sits this colonial-era church. It is believed to be one of the most historic churches in Mussoorie. It stands beautifully at the centre of a large area surrounded by Deodars. The church is beautifully painted in cream yellow and contrasts perfectly with the green surroundings. Its simple yet magnificent architecture draws the eyeballs of every single person who’s visiting for the first time.
Kellogg’s Church: This church displays Gothic architecture and is magnificently done. It has beautiful stained-glass windows which add to its beauty. Hardly half a kilometre away from Char Dukan, this church calls for a visit for its appealing beauty.
Landour Language School: Behind the Kellogg’s Church is the historic Language School from the time of Britishers. During their ruling period in India, Britishers used to learn Hindi in this school. The Landour Language School is still functional and teaches Indian languages like Hindi, Sanskrit, Urdu, Punjabi and Garhwali. Students from across the world come to learn here.
Rokeby Manor: An upbeat restaurant serving gourmet Indian and Continental food. This establishment was built in 1840. The Rokeby Manor also has a cluster of cottages beautifully done. With red brick walls and wooden flooring, the cottages give an earthy yet classy appeal. It stands to be the most expensive and exclusive stay in Landour.
Laal Tibba: Laal Tibba or the Red Hill as the name suggests is a reddish-brown hill mainly due to the soil. It is the highest point of Landour town giving the view of various Himalayan peaks. You will find a couple of spots with telescopes to give you a clear view of snow-clad peaks and far off villages for just INR 50 per person. You can also see all the Char Dhams from these spots and the view is best enjoyed during the sunrise or sunset.
Ruskin Bond’s House: Next to the vibrant BnB-Doma’s Inn at a steep descent from the Upper Chakkar is the house of Ruskin Bond. People who know he stays here, do not fail to enquire about his house with the hope, they might get a chance to see him or meet him.
Why is Landour Still an Offbeat Destination?
Landour being close to Mussoorie (approx. 7 km.) is still an offbeat destination. Landour falls under the cantonment area and as per the Cantonment Act of 1924 the plantation lies with the military. Thus, there cannot be any deforestation or new permanent construction. There has been no tree cutting for over a century and no permanent construction since 1924. Only the construction of temporary structures and repairs of the old structure is permitted due to which the town remains untouched from tourism or civilization.
Best Time to Visit Landour
April to June is considered to be the best months to visit Landour as the weather is pleasant and makes it easy to walk around and explore the place. If you are a traveller who prefers visiting places in the offseason then you can visit all the year round as rains add a different charm to any hill station but avoid travelling by car because the roads get slippery. Landour does not witness snow.
Fun Facts about Landour:
Landour was built by and for the British Indian Army
The first permanent building in all of Mussoorie-Landour was also built in Landour in 1825
Landour is named after a village called Llanddowror in south-west Wales